Weekend Box Office Report
Onward and Downward
"Onward" wins the box office, but at just $39,119,861, you have to ask what went wrong here. If we're looking at just Pixar movies that opened on a Friday in wide release, this is Pixar's lowest opening ever, coming in $8M below 2007's "Ratatouille." Disney has an easy scapegoat this week with the COVID-19 coronavirus giving people pause from attending recreational outings, but are we seeing this hit the theaters en masse? It's up to you to decide, but for now… I don't totally see it. The nice thing about FML is that we project 15 movies a week, not just one. If there was an overall downward trend in the market, we should have seen it with the entire slate, something that we see when natural disasters occur like snowstorms or hurricanes. We had a few movies at or near the $65k Bonus Bar this weekend, but only one movie beating that bar. So, can "Onward's" performance be blamed on the coronavirus or "Onward?" Probably a little column A, a little column B.
Way Back and Way Up
Not really helping "Onward's" case that there was a market contraction this weekend is the performance of the other new wide release this weekend, "The Way Back." The Ben Affleck starring R-rated inspirational coaching story was difficult to peg for, well, all of the reasons I just listed at the start of this sentence. Making things even more of a mystery with "The Way Back" was that FMLers were going in blind with it, as it did not have the typical Thursday night previews that many new releases have. Still, that didn't stop 370 FMLers from making eight screens of "The Way Back" the most played Cineplex this weekend. "The Way Back" wasn't just a gamble for the typical FML player either. According to the Top 500 report published by FML veteran AKValley every Friday post-lock, "The Way Back" x8 was popular among sharps as well, with 98 players who finished in the Top 500 last season willing to push their Season Showdown chips in on a wing and prayer (and some decent pro projections to boot).
Whether your reasoning was optimism for "The Way Back" or pessimism for everything else, the gamble paid off. "The Way Back" grossed a bit above its expectations at $8,170,315, which was good for $66,970/Bux and a Best Performer win, edging out "Bad Boys For Life" in second place. As mentioned earlier, "The Way Back" was the only movie to gross above FML Pricing's Pricing Bar of $65k. Well done to the 370 FMLers that screened the PC this weekend!
In case you missed it, it's box office musical chairs this season. First off, we have "The Hunt," a movie that was supposed to come out in September but is instead coming out now. Second, we don't have "My Spy," which was supposed to come out now, but it moved back to 4/17 after "Trolls World Tour" moved from that date to 4/10 after "No Time To Die" moved from THAT date to Thanksgiving. Did you get all that? Do you need a graph? I sure do. Lastly, we have "Bloodshot" and "I Still Believe," which announced release dates and actually stuck to them. Crazy, I know. Set your lineups by Friday Noon Eastern/9 AM Pacific and we'll see you here next week!